Who’s in your family? My wife is Angela. We’ve been married 11 years. Our children are Shavanna who’s in her first year at Ole Miss; Zaccheus, who’s 10; and Genesis, who’s 9. My wife teaches third grade at Reese Road Elementary.
How did you and Angela meet? We were both students at Ole Miss. We met near the end of my second year. I was a student manager of the basketball team and she worked in the ticket office. We married in Oxford , Miss., on July 17, 1999.
Where are you from originally? Sumter, S.C. It’s about 1½ hours from Charleston. I was adopted when I was 7. I was born in Charleston and was there until age 3. From there I lived in foster homes and an orphanage.
Who are your parents? A single mother adopted me and my siblings. There are five of us. My mother’s name is Alberta Capers.
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How did you settle on Ole Miss? I’m still trying to figure that out. I believe it was destiny. I wanted to go to Mississippi and see a different part of the world and meet different people. I started off in drama my first year then I switched to broadcast journalism. I had felt a call to ministry growing up. When I met my wife, her friend was attending a CME church in Abbeville, Miss. Stevie McKinney was the pastor. He was about 25 or 26 then. His presence in the pulpit impacted me greatly. My wife’s home church is Carr’s Chapel CME in Oakland, Miss. The pastor started asking me to lead meditations once a month on Sundays. One day after completing a meditation, I openly accepted my call. I cannot explain the emotion; it was a feeling like none other.
When was this? I was in my third year of school. After graduation, I went to Jackson, Miss., to work at a TV station; but I wasn’t comfortable with what I was seeing. I was out of my element. I went back to Ole Miss in 1999 to start another bachelor’s in education. I thought I would teach. I also had a passion for young people and mentoring them and helping them grow. That was also the same year my wife and I got married.
Then what happened? Bishop Kenneth Carter preached a revival at Rev. McKinney’s church and he saw something in me. After preaching my first sermon, I received a call from Bishop Carter who said he had a position for a youth minister. He was the pastor at Carter Metropolitan CME Church in Fort Worth, Texas at the time. We were ready to explore the world. We went to Fort Worth in 2001, and I was a youth minister and taught 7th and 8th grade English. My wife worked as a pre-K teacher. When we arrived, everything seemed to open up. We stayed in Fort Worth five years and I became an associate pastor, which gave me an opportunity to develop more in ministry.
When and where did you start seminary? In 2004, at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth. We moved to Alabama in 2006, and I became the pastor of Mt. Zion CME in Alpine, Ala. I stayed there two years. Then I was pastor of St. John CME in Gadsden. I graduated from the Interdenominational Theological Center in Atlanta in 2009. I went to the Phillips School of Theology there.
When did you come here? Last July.
How’s it going so far? It’s an excellent fit, a match made in heaven. The church is progressive-minded and wants to grow not only numerically but spiritually. With Rev. (Allen) Page being here nine years, he had a great rapport with the congregation. They could love him and embrace me at the same time. (Page moved to a church in Chicago last year.)
What’s a joy? Seeing a person who’s down get back up. Some things happen that we have no control over, and sometimes we make mistakes, but we don’t have to stay down.
What’s coming up here? There are seven of us going Haiti the first week in April. We’ll be there three days, visiting schools and working on a mission house. I’ve also been to Jamaica and I went to Africa in ’06.
What did those experiences teach you? It causes you to appreciate life in general. A guy in Africa said to me: “We don’t live to survive but we survive to live.” He told me about a group of men who get together and they give their money to one man in the group, to take care of his family. Then they’ll give it to another man the next time. Here, we are so secluded and closed-handed and we have a harder time helping one another. In Acts, the early Church put everything together.